Evaluating bull structural and reproductive soundness prior to the breeding season is important to ensure a successful breeding season.  Bulls that have poor fertility and structural soundness can result in excessive number of open cows, economic losses and decreased profit potential for your cattle operation.  “To ensure the bull is ready to have a successful breeding season have a veterinarian complete a bull breeding soundness exam (BSE) on him,” says Patrick Davis Regional MU Extension Livestock Field Specialist.

On April 23 and 25 at the El Dorado Springs Veterinary Clinic in El Dorado Springs, MU Extension will work with Dr. Brian Collins, DVM and Zoetis to conduct a bull BSE clinic.  The BSE will be performed on the bull to ensure that he is reproductively and structurally sound before entering the breeding season.  The veterinarian will examine the testicles for adequate size, penis and prepuce to make sure there is no injuries, the accessory sex glands to make sure they are sound, and the semen for adequate motility and morphology.  In addition, the veterinarian will look at the structural soundness of the bull to determine if he is physically sound to breed cows during the breeding season.

In addition to the BSE, MU Extension Regional Livestock Field Specialist Davis will educate cattle producers on bull body condition scoring (BCS) and foot scoring (FS) which are tools to assess the energy status and structural soundness of your bull.  “Bulls should be in a BCS of 6 as well as have an adequate FS for angle and claw set prior to the breeding season,” says Davis.  By meeting these parameters, the bull should be in shape to be successful during the breeding season.  Davis will also talk about bull expected progeny differences (EPDS), genomic testing, and how utilization of this information will improve the success of your cattle operation.

Since Zoetis is a partner, the bulls will be given booster vaccinations as well as treated for internal and external parasites at no charge to the producer.  Contact the El Dorado Springs Veterinary Clinic for scheduling bulls for the BSE Clinic and fees associated with the BSE and other tests, such as trichmoniasis or genomic testing at (417) 876-5805.

“Whether you test your bulls through the BSE Clinic or with your local veterinarian, get them tested,” says Davis.  An Arkansas guide sheet reports approximately 1 in 5 bulls will not pass a BSE.  A poor fertility bull reduces profit potential of the cattle operation due to excessive number of open cows and less calves to sell.  For more information on prebreeding bull management and BSE, contact your local MU Extension Livestock Field Specialist.